Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn
toward the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1)
Another sunrise lightens the sky. We’re still in chronological time—that linear, measurable time that flows predictably down through the ages. “Chronos” time: it infects our thinking, our perceptions, dictates our fate.
Time doesn’t empty a tomb. Nail wounds don’t turn into scars over night. And the dead stay put if chronos has any say in the matter. That’s the way it has always been—tic tock thinking.
But chronos isn’t the only kind of time worth considering. Chronos is susceptible to another kind of time all together. The ancients called it “kairos.”
“In the fullness of time.”
“At the proper time.”
“At the right time.”
This is God-time.
Not long ago (“the Passover was at hand”) Mary and Martha were wearing the blinders of chronos time. Their brother Lazarus had died. Jesus arrived too late. It is now four days after the fact. Lazarus is dead and buried.
Mary sits and ponders. Martha paces while her thoughts run ahead. The past few days have brought them to the same frustrating place. They pick their words of faith and accusation carefully—the exact same words—
“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not
have died.” Jesus, You’re too late. You didn’t
come in time. You missed the moment. No one can
turn back the clock.
“Your brother shall rise again.”
“I know our brother will be raised on the last day,”
No Martha, you don’t know. Stop living in the
moment and live in Me. Don’t shove all of your hopes
into some distant future. Place them in Me. “I AM the
“Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ.” But I
have no idea what to do with that knowledge.
“Where have you laid him?”
That’s more like it. Join us in our sorrow. Let it be.
Play the dirge and mourn. “Come and see.”
“Remove the stone.”
“By this time there will be a stench.” This is just
going to make matters worse. Why add the smell of
death to our pain.
“There is an appointed time for everything.”
“Lazarus, come forth!”
* * *
A handful of days before Your own death, You pull back the curtain and give us a glimpse of how the story ends. It is going to be all right! What looks like a tragedy isn’t that at all. This is going to be a funeral with party clothes.
The events surrounding Lazarus’ death were a rehearsal for something far greater. The question, “Where have they laid Him?” will shortly be asked again. The invitation to “Come and see,” will be repeated in the near future and freedom offered from the confines of a forgetful, time bound faith.
“I AM the resurrection.”
“Yes, Lord; I believe you are the Christ.” But often
I believe in an abstract sort of way. I self-protect. I
hold my breath. I defer hope against the possibility
that I’ll be disappointed. The delays manufactured
by Chronos can wither faith that holds its breath.
“Come and see.”
* * *
Ancient of Days,
You always show up unexpectedly at just the right time. That’s much of my problem—my expectations don’t match Yours. Help me live in this season wide awake to the kairos moments You have waiting for me.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012 (reprinted from April 2010)